Seek Retreat’s top researchers have been on a global journey of self discovery to bring you the World’s Top 10 Yoga Studios. Check out the best of the best…
For thousands of years yoga was, for the most part, practiced almost exclusively in the East. Fast-forward to the 21st century and, in less than two decades, yoga has spread to even the tiniest backwaters of all four corners of the world. You don’t need to be an advanced yogi living in India to practice today. You’ll find a class almost anywhere you care to drop a pin in a map. And as demand continues to grow, so too does the number of studios and the myriad of styles and practices on offer to bring out the yogi in all of us.
Edited and compiled by Nicole Muyingo
Almost all the classes at Yoga Elements Studio are taught in English. Most are a mix of Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Its lofty location, on the 23rd floor of a downtown high-rise, makes dawn and dusk the best time to visit and enjoy the sunrise or sunset backdrop. Yoga Elements is run by Adrian Phillip Cox whose 20 years of experience and extensive expertise blends a deep understanding of disciplines including Ayurveda, meditation, philosophy, the mind and linguistics. He has mentored and inspired trainee instructors all over the world, hosted international conferences and continues to integrate a variety of disciplines and wisdom into his practice.
2. Mysore, India
Yoga has been a part daily life in India for over 5,000 years. Setting the bar for yoga studios all over the world, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute is best suited to advanced yogis who are looking for a real challenge. Located in Mysore, Bangalore’s stunning city of palaces and fountains, the institute is a favorite for foreigners who are serious about their yoga. Their classes focus on the Ashtanga Vinyasa discipline, which involves a fast-paced synchronization of breath and movement.
As well as being one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the world, Copenhagen is home to some of Scandinavia’s best yoga studios – if you know where to look. Hamsa Yoga Studio is our favorite and is one of the only Scandinavian studios that teach Vinyassa yoga. It also offers workshops on advanced back-bending and Thai massage. The Danish modern and simplistic white décor is sparsely furnished but for 18th century wall paintings which make it surprisingly homely for a yoga studio. Classes can also be taught in English on request.
You may not think that the sprawling British metropolis famous for its Royals, historic landmarks, edgy fashion and afternoon tea would be a mecca for world-class yoga. But one trip to Triyoga, which now has four branches in London, was enough to convince us otherwise. With locations in Primrose Hill, Covent Garden, Chelsea and Soho, Triyoga is revered for its challenging classes and has earned itself a sterling reputation with Londoners and visitors alike. The class menu runs the gamut from Ashtanga yoga to restorative disciplines and Triyoga also offer holistic treatments such as acupuncture, naturopathy and massage. The Primrose Hill branch offers Pilates equipment sessions and has an organic café.
5. San Francisco
San Francisco is a city famous for hills, trams and its plethora of unique fascinating characters. Setting out to find a yoga studio that captured the diversity and spirit of San Francisco was our mission. Yoga Tree with its comprehensive programs, teacher training and exciting schedule won hands down. With seven yoga studios across the city in Castro, Hayes Valley, Mission, Haight-Ashbury, Telegraph Hill, Marin and one further north in Sonoma their classes include Jivamukti, Iyengar, Vinyassa, Forrest, Mysore and Hatha Yoga and incorporate all kinds of creative classes including candlelit flow and restorative hot stone classes.
6. Los Angeles
Los Angeles is often called the city of Angels because of its seemingly magical ability to turn dreams into a reality. So it’s little wonder that you barely need to get in your car to find world-class yoga here. In fact we were so spoilt for choice in LA we literally couldn’t choose a favorite – YogaWorks serves as one of the city’s staple and has multiple locations. Power Yoga, a donation-based yoga studio in Santa Monica, is where Brian Kest continues to strive to make yoga accessible for everyone. Liberation Yoga puts as much of an emphasis on the spiritual side of yoga as the physical – the good news here is, every newcomer’s first class is free!
Even though yoga has experienced a huge upsurge in popularity in Italy over the last few years we still found it a challenge to find classes taught in English. Active since September 2005, Yoga Studio Milano is the first school in Milan recognized by CONI and the Association of IYENGAR ® Yoga Light on Yoga Italy. The practice is carried out according to the method of IYENGAR ® , which focuses intently on aligning the body and the symmetry of the positions. Every teacher at Yoga Studio Milan is authorized to teach the practice.
Paris may be the city of love, light and fashion but tucked away, in the shadows of Notre Dame (in the Fifth Arrondissement), you will find the quaint and quintessentially Parisian Rasa. This well-kept secret is one of the most charming studios we visited – a peaceful haven with immaculate white walls, dark wood floors and slanted skylights that let the sun flood in. Vinyasa is the main focus here, but there are also classes in Ashtanga, Mysore and Yin.
Tokyo, known for its quirky fashion (think Hello Kitty), ancient traditions and the most exotic sushi you can find on the planet. And when it comes to yoga it has plenty to be proud of. BeYoga, where classes are taught in both English and Japanese, stood head and shoulders above the rest for us, which is probably why it is filled with locals and expats alike. BeYoga instructors practice ISHTA (Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda) a yoga style founded in the 1960’s by Alan Finger that emphasizes both alignment and asana.
10. New York
Fabulous yoga, as with New York’s fabulous food and fashion, isn’t hard to come by in the Big Apple. Every practice and yoga style is represented here. We like ViraYoga, which was originally opened by Elena Brower as a downtown refuge for New York City yogis. Virayoga is an international hub for yoga and wellness and plays host to some of the world’s most revered and respected teachers across a range disciplines including yoga, meditation, coaching and healing.
As with all our guides we are constantly striving to bring you the very best up-to-date information. Please feel free to comment below if you have a studio you would like to recommend or information that is relevant to the article above.
– Seek Retreat